top-seeded Harvard-Westlake, which claimed a share of the circuit's fifth
straight section crown last year, prolonged the final four frustration
with a 3-1 victory.
"Heck yes it's frustrating," said Evans, who, despite the loss was
pleased with his players' effort and intensity. "But it would be more
frustrating if we hadn't got to the semifinals the last three years. This
program hadn't been to the playoffs for (eight) years (before the 2000
postseason), but now we're back in a groove. This was our third year in a
row in the semifinals. I think Harvard-Westlake lost four straight years
in the semifinals, before it won (the Division IV co-championship with
league rival Louisville) last year. We'll be back next year to try to get
over the hump."
It was the No. 4-seeded three-time Pacific Coast League champions
(15-5-7), who raised the curve early Tuesday.
With quick passes, strong spacing and a determined manner, the hosts
held possession in their half of the field most of the first 30 minutes.
"I definitely thought we had the better of it early," Evans said. "We
had some great opportunities and we were well balanced."
Harvard-Westlake's defense, however, keyed by sophomore sweeper Julia
Shapira, kept things scoreless, until the Wolverines cashed in its only
quality scoring chance before halftime.
Junior Gina Farias-Eisner chased down a through ball on the right side
of the 18-yard box and delivered a diagonal shot inside the far post to
put the Mission League champions (23-1-1) in front for good in the 34th
Farias-Eisner was one of three players, including junior forward Tracy
Lansing and senior midfielder and Parade Magazine national player of the
year Jill Oakes, whom Evans emphasized stopping in his game plan.
Evans instructed his team at halftime to gamble more offensively in
the second half, but it was Harvard-Westlake which seized offensive
control after the break.
The Wolverines broke through again in the 63rd minute, when Lansing
took a feed from Farias-Eisner just inside the box and drove a low roller
into the near corner for a 2-0 lead.